Social Isolation and the Elderly (75+)
“It is up to us as a society to ask ourselves how we can pull together to put an end to this isolation and reach out to our senior citizens.”
Social isolation is commonly defined as a low quantity and quality of contact with others. A situation of social isolation involves few social contacts and few social roles, as well as the absence of mutually rewarding relationships. 
30% of seniors are at risk of being socially isolated. 
LONELINESS: A HEALTH HAZARD
Studies show that social isolation:
- Affects neuroendocrine activity, inflammation and immunity
- Increases the risk of dementia and cognitive decline by 60%
- Increases the risk of mortality
- Is asdangerous as obesity, drinking and smoking in terms of adverse health outcomes
- Is associated with elevated levels of depression and suicide.
Having caring, compassionate people around you can play a decisive role in improving overall quality of life.
Connection is essential to the human experience.
That’s why Little Brothers has been
bringing people together for 55 years.
SENIOR ISOLATION: A WIDESPREAD AND GROWING PHENOMENON
Social isolation is on the rise around the world. It is particularly prevalent among the elderly, as the risk of being alone increases with age.
This represents an enormous challenge for our society, with more than 600,000 Quebecers currently in the 75+ age group – a number that is expected to double within the next two decades.
75 AND OLDER: WHEN THE RISK OF ISOLATION IS AT ITS GREATEST
Seniors 75 or older are often more vulnerable and prone to decline, especially given how commonplace loss and bereavement are at this age. At Little Brothers, we are committed to staying by their side throughout their remain years– no matter what.
Taking concrete action to brighten the lives
of the most vulnerable members of the senior population:
that is what we do here at Little Brothers.
AGE-RELATED LOSS: A PAINFUL REALITY FOR OUR ELDER FRIENDS
When you’re grappling with the loss of the important people in your life – your spouse, your family members, your friends – as well as multiple ailments and chronic health problems, it becomes more difficult to make and maintain social contacts. Dwindling mobility, cognitive decline, limited financial means and solitary living arrangements can all make matters worse. And because women have a longer life expectancy than men, they tend the bear the brunt of these impacts.
CAUSES OF SOCIAL ISOLATION
Several factors can contribute to increased isolation:
- Loss of loved ones
- Physical and mobility impairments
- Mental health conditions and cognitive decline
- Living alone
1,700 VOLUNTEERS AND LOCAL TEAMS OPERATING IN 15 COMMUNITIES: POWER IN NUMBERS!
At Little Brothers, we know just how potent the efforts and kindness of our 1,700 volunteers can be. Day after day, with the support of our dedicated team of professionals, they are doing their part to reach out to lonely, vulnerable seniors.
Because of them and the support of the general public, we can deliver on our promise to always be there for our Elder Friends – right up until the end.
1,700 volunteers: that’s a big number. But are needs are even greater.
The gifts we receive are vital to honouring our pledge to our Elder Friends.
 National Seniors Council. Report on the Social Isolation of Seniors (2013–2014): http://www.seniorscouncil.gc.ca/eng/research_publications/social_isolation/page00.shtml
 Janice Keefe, Melissa Andrew, Pamela Fancey & Madelyn Hall. Final Report: A Profile of Social Isolation in Canada, 2015: http://www.health.gov.bc.ca/library/publications/year/2006/keefe_social_isolation_final_report_may_2006.pdf
 John T. Cacioppo, Stephanie Cacioppo, John P. Capitanio & Steven W. Cole. “The Neuroendocrinology of Social Isolation” Annu. Rev. Psychol., 2015, 66:9.1–9.35: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/531897cde4b0fa5080a9b19e/t/542082a5e4b07b5243b7766a/1411416741117/the-neuroendocrinology-of-social-isolation.pdf
 Fratiglioni, L., Wang, H.X., Ericsson, K., Maytan, M. et Windblad, B. (2000). Influence of Social Network on Occurrence of Dementia: A Community-based Longitudinal Study. Lancet. 355(9212):1315-9.
 Andrew Steptoe, Aparna Shankar, Panayotes Demakakos & Jane Wardle. “Social isolation, loneliness, and all-cause mortality in older men and women” PNAS, 2013, Vol. 110, No. 15, pp. 5797–5801: http://www.pnas.org/content/110/15/5797.full
 Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Timothy B. Smith, Mark Baker, Tyler Harris & David Stephenson. “Loneliness and Social Isolation as Risk Factors for Mortality: A Meta-Analytic Review” Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2015, Vol. 10, pp. 227–237: http://pps.sagepub.com/content/10/2/227.full.pdf+html
 National Seniors Council, op. cit.
 National Seniors Council, op. cit.